View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

St. Charles Borromeo - Franciscan tertiary

In the midst of the pre- and post-election hullabaloo, I neglected to write about a saint with Secular Franciscan ties - and is a significant figure in the Church history: St. Charles Borromeo.

St. Charles is renowned for his faith and intellect, and as a reformer through his work with the Council of Trent and in the Archdiocese of Milan.

He was also a member of the Franciscan Third Order (now the Secular Franciscan Order).

St. Charles was born October 2, 1538, in Aron, Italy, to a Milanese family related the Medici's. His uncle, Cardinal de Medici, became Pope Pius IV in 1559, and made Charles, who had gained a reputation as a scholar, cardinal-deacon and administrator of the Archdiocese of Milan, even though the 22-year old was still a layman. He spent most of his time working at the Vatican and was finally ordained a priest in 1563, and then was consecrated bishop of Milan.

Although he now had a diocese, he still spent his time at the Vatican where he was instrumental in keeping the Council of Trent in session as it worked to reform the Church.

All the while, he sought to actually go to Milan, which had been without a resident bishop for nearly 80 years. When he was finally allowed to do so – after Pope Pius IV died and Pius V became Pope – he worked tirelessly to reform his see. He sought to better educate the clergy and eliminate abuses, to provide catechetical education for children, and to help the people deal with plague and famine – spending his family fortune and going into debt to do so. During the plague and famine of 1576 he reportedly tried to feed 60,000 to 70,000 people daily.

He eventually wore himself down, became ill, and died the evening of November 3, 1584, at age 46.

According to Church custom, since he died after sundown his feast is celebrated November 4.


Post a Comment

<< Home